Orioles manager Buck Showalter was encouraged by left-hander Zach Britton's throwing session Thursday in Sarasota, Fla.

Britton, who has experienced left shoulder inflammation since he was placed on the disabled list last August, began a throwing progression Thursday with a long-toss session at the Orioles' spring training complex.


Showalter said the reports from the session were all positive.

"It was great," Showalter said. "He said he didn't feel anything. It felt good. There's nothing they're red-flagging at all. In fact, it's very encouraging."

Britton, who is scheduled to throw again Saturday, has been taking anti-inflammatory medication since going on the DL in August and rested his arm over the offseason, but the inflammation continued.

A recent MRI was negative and revealed no structural damage, and Britton was placed on a different anti-inflammatory medicine.

Given the cavalcade of past injury problems with the Orioles' young pitchers -- starters Jake Arrieta, Brian Matusz and Britton all spent time on the DL last season -- Britton's health issue is a concern as the club's pitchers and catchers report for spring training in Sarasota on Saturday.

Despite leading the club in wins as a rookie -- Britton was 11-11 with a 4.61 ERA in 28 starts in 2011 -- he is not assured a rotation spot this season, especially since he has minor league options remaining.

"I think we got the attention of these guys that there's going to be some competition," Showalter said. "And I think through that, sometimes they go a little fast. I think the thing we have to do is slow them down a little bit."

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